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Author Topic: West Wing discussion thread (with spoilers)
Lyrhawn
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I thought West Wing deserved its own thread, now that I see there are people on here who do watch the show.

I saw this article on CNN today:
quote:
NEW YORK (AP) -- NBC will air a live episode of "The West Wing" featuring a debate between presidential candidates Matt Santos and Arnold Vinick on November 6.

Airing scripted TV shows live is a rarity these days, although NBC tried the attention-getting device earlier last week with the "Will & Grace" season premiere.

"The West Wing," which has lagged in the ratings with its move to Sunday nights this season, is in the midst of the campaign to replace Martin Sheen's character, President Bartlet. Jimmy Smits plays Democratic candidate Santos and Alan Alda the Republican Vinick.

The cast will run through two separate live versions, one for the East Coast and one of the West. The series' executive producer, John Wells, has experience with this: He was at the helm when "ER" opened its fourth season in 1997 with a live episode.

What's everyone's take on what has happened so far in this season, and at the end of the last?
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gingerjam
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i have no take cos we've just recieved season 6 on DVD and won't get 7 for another year as far as i can tell in Australia...but am badly hooked on the show!

it's no where near the standard of the Aaron Sorkin days. season 5 was pretty lame but I thought the end of it and season 6 picked up with John Wells writing episodes though... we still yell out 'best show ever' at random moments in our household...

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Lisa
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I was annoyed with Vinick last night. I thought he was more principled than that last season.

And even so, they're portraying him as more principled than he would be in real life. Same goes for Santos. Hell, I'd probably vote for Santos if such a guy existed. But we're probably going to be stuck with Hillary vs. Condi in real life. <shudder>

I expected to hate Janeane Garafalo, because I do in real life, but she's terrific. Much better than Amy Gardner was.

I want to know who is getting canned next week. I was dead sure at the end of last season that CJ was the leak, but from her reaction when she found out that she was a suspect, I must have been wrong. That narrows it down to Toby and... bangs chick, whatever her name is again. And she seems too regulation to have done such a thing. Also, the silhouette in the preview made it look like a guy. So I'm going with Toby.

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littlemissattitude
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Oh, I'm sure it's Toby. After all, his brother (wasn't it his brother?) was an astronaut. That came out several seasons ago when there was some crisis or other.

However, I hope he's only canned from the White House and not from the show, because he is one of my favorite characters on the show.

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Lisa
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Right. I totally forgot about his brother. Wasn't he gay, too? And dead? Or am I mixing up brothers?
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littlemissattitude
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I don't know about gay. But I do remember that the brother did die at one point a couple of seasons after the crisis that introduced him, without us ever actually seeing him.
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Jeni
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I read somewhere that Richard Schiff is leaving the show and is only signed on to do about five episodes this season. I'm going to guess this is his way out.
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Lisa
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Well, good for him. I know it was illegal, but I'm glad he leaked it. I was glad when I thought CJ had, too.

I want to see a debate between Jed Bartlett and MacKenzie Allen.

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Shawshank
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Okay, a side note. Last night's episode made me SO annoyed. Has anyone noticed that this is becoming the West Wing metaphor for Bush v. Kerry- with of course the Democratic slant? The Democratic candidate is/was in the military- while the Republican nominee never served any time. Then when Santos said "I voted for it before I voted against it" that was the confirmation for me- I mean... I know I'm conservative- so it probably grates on me more than a liberal's- but even if it was the other way around- we already had to live throuhg last year's election once- let's not have to go through it again!
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Lisa
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Except that Vinick flip-flopped right in the middle of his visit to the border.
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Lyrhawn
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Toby's brother was an astronaut yes, and he died, but wasn't gay.

Who watched last night's debate episode?

I nearly had a heart attack I was so excited at some points. It was the debate format that I've always wanted to see.

I especially loved when Vinnick called him a Liberal and Santos fired back at him defending being a Liberal. That was great.

It's hard to say who won. I'd say issue for issue, Santos one, but Vinnick might have came out stronger personality wise.

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Little_Doctor
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I call it "The Debate that will Never Happen". Wouldn't it be great if it could though?

I think Santos won it. In the beggining Vinick was shooting down a lot of Santos' arguments, but he came through strong in the end. The border issue went to Santos. Education to Santos. Taxes could have gone either way (It's tough to find anyone with a solid, and reasonable solution for that particular issue).

I felt that Vinick spent too much time bashing Santos' views, and not enough time promoting his own. Then again, Santos had a smiliar problem. Though, Santos had to defend himself a lot more often than Vinick did.

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Oliver Dale
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I rolled my eyes several times. The understandable but annoying democrati-spin was a bit thick at points. Vinick has always been excruciatingly articulate and poised -- what changed suddenly last night?
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Lyrhawn
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I didn't think it was skewed THAT badly towards democrats. I felt it tilt, but it wasn't that blatent. Vinnick got in enough conservative rhetoric to balance.

As for Vinnick: No, he hasn't always been excruciatinylu articulate and poised in the past. In press conferences he is off the cuff, and tends to make gaffes, like that big one he made about the churches. Sure he came back and fixed it, but he doesn't hold his tongue very well when he ISN'T giving a scripted speach. He stutters, then finds his footing and rams the point home. That's what developed and came out during the debate.

I thought Santos was rather reserved, compared to how heavy he hit back during the primaries.

It was a clinic in Democratic and Republican governmental theory. Both made VERY good points, hell, Vinnick almost had me convinced on ANWR for a moment, and I'm a stalwart anti-driller. Santos had me wondering about his healthcare plan.

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Jeni
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I thought it was the worst hour of West Wing ever. I'd take a regular episode with an actual storyline anyday. Remember Game On? That was one exciting debate, and they didn't even have to junk the rules. It seemed like they were trying too hard to not make either candidate a clear winner, and just ended up making them both sound horrible.
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Lyrhawn
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Game On was cool. But obviously scripted. Good episode, but I liked this one better.
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Jeni
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Has anyone else been keeping up with all the news that's come out the last few days about the last episodes? I'm looking for someone to squee for joy with. [Smile]
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Lyrhawn
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I haven't heard anything?

Share with us?

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Sean
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squee
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JonnyNotSoBravo
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Will all the people who left the show be brought back by Jed Bartlett's death? What will be the reason they all come back? I only watched the show until Aaron Sorkin left the series. It would be cool if Aaron Sorkin could write the final episodes...
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Rakeesh
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I never watched the show regularly, but I did see the entire...oh, first three or four seasons? That was because when I first started liking the show it'd already been on air for quite awhile, and I was always working when the new episodes aired. But I'd heard so much about it around here that I decided to record it (good old DVR) on Bravo, and before you know it I was hooked.

So I didn't exactly watch them all in order, but I did watch them all, and I loved the actors, the writing (the writing), the plot, and just the feel of the show. Then the season ended and I had already seen all of the stuff that was airing on Bravo, so I sort of stopped watching it again and had forgotten to record it by the time a new season came up.

I've started watching again, though. And I've gotta admit...man, I guess it's Aaron Sorkin's absence, but the show seems to have taken a drop. The acting is as good as it ever was, but the writing is definitely not, nor is the plot.

It seems like in the space of just a few episodes, the Bartlett League of America has solved pretty much all of the major US problems. The writing is not as snappy and witty, and the way they manage to solve all problems in a pretty black-and-white way is annoying.

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blacwolve
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Jed is going to die? [Frown]
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prolixshore
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That's because Aaron Sorkin is the man. THE MAN!

Can't wait for his new show.

--ApostleRadio

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Irami Osei-Frimpong
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quote:
Can't wait for his new show.
I'm chomping at the bit.
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Sean
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Jed's not going to die. I think he meant Leo.
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Lyrhawn
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They can't kill him off, remember the future glimpse of him being at the opening of his presidential library?

And what is Aaron Sorkin's new show?

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Lisa
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Leo wasn't in that scene.
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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Sean:
squee

That's way cool. Though they could skip Amy Gardner. She's the single most annoying character to ever foul this show. I love her in Weeds, though.
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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by starLisa:
Leo wasn't in that scene.

I was referring to Jed.

And awww, don't be so harsh to Amy. Sure her droning voice was a little annoying at times (many times (a lot of the time)). But she was great with Josh, and I liked a lot of their back and forth. I'd rather see him with her than Donna. Well, actually I liked him better with Joey Lucas, but if I had to settle, I'd put him with Amy.

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Jeni
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My first squeeing was after I found out Rob Lowe is supposed to be coming back for the last two episodes. I then squeed again after finding out we will see Ainsley, too. (I love Ainsley)

But the biggest squee of all came after seeing the promo video for the next new episode. [Smile]
http://www.my-serendipity.net/videos/TWW/Season7/TheCold_promo.wmv

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Lisa
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I like Donna too much to wish her together with Josh. She deserves better.

The thing about Mary Louise Parker... she has this weird affect. I mean, she sort of has it regardless of who she's playing. It's this stare, like whoever she's talking to isn't really there. It kind of freaks me out. I wonder if she's like that in real life.

Anyway, it suits Nancy Botwin. It doesn't suit a lobbyist so much.

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Jeni
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I'm anxious to see how Sorkin's new show will be, too. I've heard Brad Whitford and the guy who plays Danny in WW have already signed on. Schlamme is directing, so that's a good sign too.
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prolixshore
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The new show is a sort of return to the Sports Night (my favorite show) era, but replace daily sports show with weekly sketch comedy show. Brad Whitford is signed on, as I hear, and so are Amanda Peete and did I also hear Matthew Perry? I think so.

I'm not a huge fan of Perry and Peete, but with Sorkin behind the typewriter, I'm sure they will be fine. I wonder if Josh Malina will follow Sorkin again, he loves being in his movies/tv shows and I love Josh Malina.

--ApostleRadio

EDIT: Looks like Andrew Weber is gonna be in it too. I like him as well. And DL Hughley. I can't wait.

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Irami Osei-Frimpong
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quote:

The thing about Mary Louise Parker... she has this weird affect. I mean, she sort of has it regardless of who she's playing. It's this stare, like whoever she's talking to isn't really there. It kind of freaks me out.

I know what you mean, and it is such a turn on.
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Jeni
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I agree. I really like her demeanor and thought Amy was great.

The single most annoying character in my book is Mandy. Or Mary McCormack's bangs in Season 5.

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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Irami Osei-Frimpong:
quote:

The thing about Mary Louise Parker... she has this weird affect. I mean, she sort of has it regardless of who she's playing. It's this stare, like whoever she's talking to isn't really there. It kind of freaks me out.

I know what you mean, and it is such a turn on.
<raised eyebrow>
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David G
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I happen to know Joshua Malina's cousin, and Joshua Malina was in A Few Good Men with Kevin Bacon. So I am three degrees removed from Kevin Bacon.
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Lisa
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Which makes us all four degrees from him, right?
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Lyrhawn
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Well, West Wing is over now.

Final thoughts on the show?

In the closing 10 minutes, I couldn't help but think "Argh! I can't believe it's all ending!"

I'm really going to miss the show.

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Lisa
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It really should have continued. It had a low point, back in the 5th season, but it has gotten better and better. I would love to see what happens now as it goes on.

I had a picture in my mind of the final episode. It went sort of like this.

Vinick is on a bus, see? And the bus is going through a really dangerous neighborhood, when some gangs start shooting. So they have to keep everyone on the bus completely silent. And there's this woman on the bus, right? And she's holding a chicken, and Vinick hisses, "Will someone shut that chicken up?"

Oh, never mind...

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littlemissattitude
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It's a really good thing I didn't have anything in my mouth when I read that, starLisa. That is, oh, wickedly funny. [ROFL]

The last episode starts in fifteen minutes here. Maybe that mental picutre you gave me will keep me from crying through the whole episode like I did last week when I kept thinking that it was the next to the last episode. I'm really going to miss this show a lot.

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Evie3217
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I started crying at least twice during the show. I haven't tuned in all season, however, and I was wondering: why did Toby need a pardon? That was the only thing I was confused about.
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littlemissattitude
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Yeah. Pretty much sniffled through the whole stupid episode. Really cried several times. When Bartlett was walking around saying goodbye to the staff. When he signed the letter pardoning Toby. When Donna realized that that big office was going to be hers. When Bartlett was on the plane and opened the package with the framed napkin in it. A couple of other places.

It's really frustrating. I'm just not like this about shows I like when they finally go away. Ever. I just don't get it.

Edit: I almost forgot (it isn't a good idea to pay bills and play on the 'net at the same time): Toby had to be pardoned because he pled guilty to leaking information to the press about a secret military space shuttle when a regular space shuttle was stranded in space and no one would go rescue the astronauts stuck on it.

Edit number two: Did that one guy sitting in the audience during the inauguration look a lot like Aaron Sorkin to anyone else? Sure did to me.

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Evie3217
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And another question, why was Barlett on the fence as to whether to sign it or not? Was it personal between the two? That's what I figured, but my parents (with whom I was watching the show) disagree.
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Lyrhawn
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It was the space station, not a space shuttle. And he was on the fence I think, because he knew that Toby did something wrong and he felt morally ambivalent about pardoning a friend when he knew for a fact that Toby was guilty of the crime. In the episode where Toby left, he said something along the lines of "Toby, there'll be a lot of people here who think you're a hero for what you did, don't think that I'm one of them." But he said it all threatening.

There was also this huge argument about morality and right and wrong between them. I think Bartlett felt that Toby was trying to do the morally superior thing, and that in general he felt he was morally superior, but there's more to it than that. In the end, I think the idea of Toby's kids growing up with no father, and Toby in prison for so long really ate at him too much. But he didn't pardon him, I think he commuted the sentence. If you remember from the future episode, he still asked how the prison was, but I think it was a "camp cupcake" type prison.

starLisa, you forgot the part where he talks to the same guy that Bartlett and Josh talked to after their traumas, and he makes Vinnick remember what REALLY happened. And then Vinnick calls him a bastard, but they stay friends forever.

Maybe they can get some of the cast back for a reunion show. Whitford and Timothy Busfield will be on Sorkin's new show. Two down! a dozen to go.

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Dan_raven
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I loved the part where Bartlett wakes up in the bed and set from his previous sit-com, and wakes Susanne Pleshet with the comment, "I had the strangest dream..."

Then it all fades back to see the whole world inside this snow-globe being shaken by an Autisitic Toby.

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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
It was the space station, not a space shuttle.

It was a military space shuttle. The civilian shuttle was being repaired and couldn't be used for the rescue of the folks on the space station. A military space shuttle was against certain treaties about the militarization of space, so they weren't going to use it. The leak made it possible to save the astronauts.
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littlemissattitude
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
It was the space station, not a space shuttle...But he didn't pardon him, I think he commuted the sentence.

I guess I misunderstood the shuttle/space station thing, or just assumed that it was a shuttle that was in trouble.

Bartlett did pardon Toby. Remeber, on the previous episode C.J. went to see Toby and asked him when he was supposed to report to prison. Then, in the last episode, when C.J. was visiting the empty press briefing room, one of the reporters was actually there. He asked her if she knew that Bartlett had pardoned Toby, using that specific word, and then asked her for a quote, which she didn't give him.

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Dan_raven
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A military space shuttle may be against certain treaties, but telling the world we have one is no crime. I've known we've had them ever since "Moonraker." We have like 50, and enough space marines to take out any enemy space station. After all, if its in 007, it must be true.
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Lisa
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I recently rewatched The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane. Martin Sheen gave me the creeps. I would have liked to have seen Jodie Foster guest on West Wing and offer Bartlett a cup of tea. <grin>
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